When you start looking for your first condo you may notice that the MLS listings you’re seeing have a lot of information and terms you’re not familiar with. Not everything that’s included is relevant. So, I’m providing you with a simple to follow cheat sheet that explains all the key terms you need to know. This will enable you to quickly sift through the unnecessary jargon and find the important info within the unit listings you are interested in!
Knowing how to read an MLS listing is also super handy because that’s where you will find all of the important financial information about the unit. You can take those financial numbers, plug them into your mortgage calculator app, and have a pretty accurate idea of your potential carrying costs if you were to buy/rent that unit. (check out my favourite mortgage app in my blog post Top 5 Apps for Condo Buyers)
You’ll notice that there are two types of MLS listings – Toronto MLS Listings and Realtor.ca Listings.
Realtor.ca listings are publicly available and you can search and view any listing that is posted to their database. These listings look like this >>
Realtor.ca listings provide a general overview of units so this cheat sheet will cover how to read the more in-depth Toronto MLS listings you receive from your agent.
Toronto MLS Listings are not publicly available, so they can only be sent to you via e-mail by your Realtor®. They can set up your e-mail to receive daily messages with new listings based on your specifications
realtor.ca listing example
*the details included are for demonstrative purposes only the numbers and addresses, financial info, room sizes etc. used are fictional
1. Address | The full address of the condo including postal code and unit #
2. Listing Price | the asking price for the condo
3. Property Taxes | The annual amount paid in property taxes and the year that amount was paid
4. Days on Market | The number of days the listing has been up on the market/MLS
5. Condo Corporation # | The registered number of the condo corporation, you won’t need to use this number but it is good to verify it’s there. If this space is blank or shows as 0000 the building may be new and not registered yet.
6. Bedrooms and Washrooms | The total number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If there is a +1 beside the bedrooms that indicate there is a den
7. Closest Main Intersection | The closest large intersection, this is good to check if the unit is in a good location for you
8. The MLS# | This is a number that is generated when listings are loaded to MLS. It is used to find specific listings, you can refer to MLS #’s to your agent so they can quickly find units you send them
9. Possession Date | This is the date the seller is requesting for the closing day. This can be: a specific date, a time range (eg. 30-60 days), maybe unspecified/open to anything (eg. TBD) or if the unit is vacant and they want someone in as soon as possible it may say immediately
10. Status Certificate | This indicates whether the status certificate is available to review if it is available you could have your lawyer review it before submitting an offer (this is more relevant in multiple offer situations)
11. Age | The approximate age of the building
12. Square footage | The approximate square footage of the unit
13. Exposure | Which direction the unit faces
14. Pets | does the building allow pets? None – indicates no pets allowed, restrict indicates pets are allowed but subject to certain rules
15. Maintenance Fees | This is the current amount charged for maintenance every month
16. Locker | Indicates if there is a locker included with your unit. owned = your own owned locker included in the purchase price
17. Utilities & Costs | This is a list of the utilities that can be charged and a Y(yes) or N(no) to indicate if this cost is covered in your maintenance fees. If it has a No beside it that means that will be charged to you as a separate bill.
18. Balcony | Indicates if there is a balcony
19. Ensuite Laundry | Indicates if there is a laundry machine in the unit
20. Room Dimensions and Features | A list of rooms, the dimensions and basic room features
21. Remarks and Extras Included | This section is where the listing agent writes a description of the unit and includes notes on what items are included in the sale. here are some common abbreviations used in this section :
W/D: washer & dryer | S/S: stainless steel | ELF’s: electric light fixtures | F/P: fireplace | HWT: hot water tank | W/I: walk-in | W/O: Walk-out
Brittany Ffrench is a Realtor® with Century 21 Leading Edge. She is the creator of The Condo Guide which is an online course teaching you everything you need to know about buying a condo in Toronto! She loves blogging, yoga, pizza and her two mini Dachshunds Louis and Gus.